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What can businesses do to tackle domestic abuse and stalking?


On November 11th businesses will gather in Bristol for the BEHIND CLOSED DOORS conference to help employers to understand the impact of domestic abuse and stalking on the workplace and what their responsibilities are to their staff.

In England and Wales domestic abuse costs £1.9billion a year in lost economic output. Gender-based violence and abuse impacts the workplace in multiple ways. This can be direct and may threaten workers’ safety, or there can be secondary effects and disruptions which also effect the workplace. Violence and abuse leads to measureable time taken off work and lost jobs, as well as to less easily measureable lost productivity on the job. Domestic abuse can also impact negatively on employees health and wellbeing and on wider staff morale as well as organisational image and reputation.

Keynote speaker Avon and Somerset Police and Crime Commissioner Sue Mountstevens said: “Domestic abuse is everyone’s business and it’s really important that we work together to let victims know we’re there for them when they need help and support.

“Working together we need to take a stand against offenders who continue to abuse their partners and together we need to encourage friends and families to speak out if they believe abuse is happening.  Abuse is not a private matter and employers and colleagues have an important part to play in tackling it.

“We must continue to challenge victim blaming both in society and amongst our colleagues and other professionals.  To do this, education is crucial as only by being able to identify the signs of abuse can we work towards tackling this heinous crime. This conference is an important step in making a world free from abuse a reality.”

According to official crime figures, 1.4 million women and 700,000 men had experienced some kind of domestic abuse in 2013, there were also an estimated 406,000 victims of sexual assaults in 2013 and nearly one million victims of stalkers. Therefore it is likely that all workplaces have staff that have in the past experienced abuse/stalking or are currently experiencing it, as well those who are perpetrators. Gender-based violence is often thought of as a private matter. Yet over 75% of people who endure violence are targeted at work through social media, phone calls, and site visits; and in 2011, 1/3 of all domestic violence homicides happened on workplace grounds as with the tragic case of Hollie Gazzard. Studies have found that an estimated 74% of domestic violence survivors were harassed by their partner while at work, while 21% of perpetrators contacted their partners from work to threaten them, and 29% contacted partners to scare or intimidate them.

Nick Gazzard said: “The Hollie Gazzard Trust are delighted to be Partnering with Bristol Zero Tolerance and bringing the BEHIND CLOSED DOORS conference to Bristol. It is important that we continue to raise the awareness of domestic abuse and stalking and the devastating effects that it has both in the home and in the workplace. With 1 in 4 women experiencing domestic abuse at some point in their lifetime, it is highly likely that all workplaces have staff that have or are experiencing abuse as well those who are perpetrators. BEHIND CLOSED DOORS will help businesses understand how they can spot the signs of abuse and understand their legal obligations.”

On November 11th a range of different types of businesses from across Bristol, and beyond, will come together to find out about an employer’s duty of care to their staff in relation to domestic abuse and stalking and their legal obligations and liabilities. They will learn how certain types of abuse can escalate and how this can take place either within the workplace or directly outside it. They will also learn how staff, management and businesses can be ready to identify staff who are subjected to abuse or stalking, to be able to handle domestic abuse and stalking through developing effective workplace policies and procedures, and how to signpost staff to the correct specialist organisations.

The conference is part of the Bristol Zero Tolerance initiative and is also an opportunity for businesses to find out how they can sign up to the Zero Tolerance Pledge and take action on this as well as access the Women's Aid 'Domestic Abuse: It's Your Business' training which is available to organisations and businesses as part of the initiative.

There will also be a theatre piece from Alter Ego Creative Solutions of ‘Behind Closed Doors’ a hard-hitting applied theatre production that was developed in association with The City of London Police to raise awareness of the issues surrounding domestic abuse and violence.

The conference is being run in partnership between Bristol Zero Tolerance, a city-wide initiative tackling gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation, and The Hollie Gazzard Trust created following the murder of 20-year-old Hollie Gazzard in 2014 in her workplace by an ex-partner.

To find out more and to book see https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/behind-closed-doors-tickets-27706005408?aff=eac2


Posted on Friday 30th September 2016
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